Press Release

AFT President Randi Weingarten Applauds Introduction of Community Schools Bill

For Release: 

Thursday, July 15, 2010


George Jackson

The Developing Innovative Partnerships and Learning Opportunities that Motivate Achievement (DIPLOMA) Act introduced in the Senate today by Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Bernard Sanders (I-Vt.) authorizes $2.5 billion a year for grants to states to support full-service community schools and community-based integrated services.

WASHINGTON—The DIPLOMA Act introduced today by Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Bernard Sanders (I-Vt.) demonstrates a commitment to removing the out-of-school obstacles to success faced by too many economically disadvantaged schoolchildren. Moreover, this legislation marks the beginning of a changing narrative on accountability in education by shifting the dialogue about student success to include 360-degree accountability for an entire community.

The American Federation of Teachers is a strong advocate of community schools as a way of mitigating the effects of poverty on student achievement. Just last week as the AFT convention in Seattle, we passed a resolution that reaffirms our commitment to that principle. The DIPLOMA Act is a perfect vehicle to advance the goals of community schools. It provides significant resources for school districts to develop models with community groups that collaborate to develop and implement wraparound services and programs, such as early childhood services, academic support services, adult education, health services and juvenile crime prevention.

We have seen numerous examples nationwide of how community schools successfully address these issues and place students on a path to a brighter future. These are schools that recognize that our students will not succeed unless we all work together to educate the whole child. The AFT fully supports the passage of this legislation and commends Sens. Brown and Sanders for sharing the AFT’s vision for public schools as they ought to be.

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The AFT represents 1.7 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.